The Ontario government has created a new Investigations Unit to ensure every long-term care resident lives with dignity and experiences the quality of care they deserve. Supported by an investment of $72.3 million, the new 10-person unit will be an effective deterrent and tool when escalated enforcement is needed to improve compliance and ensure resident safety.
The new unit is now active and will investigate allegations such as:
- failing to protect a resident from abuse or neglect,
- repeated and ongoing non-compliance,
- failing to comply with ministry inspector’s orders,
- suppressing and/or falsifying mandatory reports, and
- negligence of corporate directors.
“These new investigators have the authority to add more accountability in the long-term care sector and will help address the most serious forms of non-compliance,” said Stan Cho, Minister of Long-Term Care. “The new unit complements what is already the toughest inspection and enforcement program in Canada, helping give residents the safety and quality of care they need and deserve.”
The newly appointed investigators completed comprehensive training over 19 weeks which consisted of in-class training, self-study modules and field experience. The training covered all aspects of the inspections program, the relevant legislation and regulation, investigative techniques such as interviewing, search warrant and report writing, as well as court procedures.
The new unit’s investigators are designated as Provincial Offences Officers under the Provincial Offences Act and will investigate allegations of offenses under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act. While inspectors identify and address non-compliance under the Act, investigators determine if there are grounds that an offence under the Act has been committed, which if prosecuted could result in fines and/or imprisonment.
“The creation of this new investigations unit under the Fixing Long Term Care Act marks an important step forward to continue protecting Ontario’s long-term care home residents,” said Attorney General, Doug Downey. “By providing investigators with the ability to refer cases to prosecutors as needed, this team will help to improve compliance with the Act, keep residents safe and provide comfort and certainty to residents and their families.”
The work of the Investigations Unit will complement Ontario’s existing robust inspections program and is in addition to a wider suite of changes the government introduced over the last two years to strengthen compliance and enforcement in the long-term care sector. These new measures include doubling the number of inspectors in the field, implementing a new and more efficient IT system for inspectors to track their work, and introducing new compliance and enforcement tools like administrative monetary penalties and re-inspection fees.
The government is fixing long-term care to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they need and deserve. The plan is built on four pillars: staffing and care; quality and enforcement; building modern, safe and comfortable homes; and connecting seniors with faster, more convenient access to the services they need.